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Goulburn punters lost $12 million in six months

Thu, Jun 6, 4:59pm by Staff Writer

Goulburn and district gamers put nearly $12 million through poker machines in six months last year.

The Goulburn Post is reporting that the data comes from the New South Wales Liquor and Gaming Machines bi-annual report for the period of June to December, 2018 for hotels and June to November for clubs.

Punters lost $11,906,154 to pub and club poker machines in the Goulburn Mulwaree Council area and Upper Lachlan Shire over that period, the latest data reveals.

The total net profits made from poker machines in clubs in GMC and ULSC was $9,100,930.

The report says that the tax paid on this profit from $1,563,798 and that there were 383 poker machines across seven clubs in the two Local Government Areas.

The total profits from poker machines in hotels in GMC was $2,805,584 and the tax paid on this was $672,490.

There are 105 poker machines across eight hotels in the LGA.

Data for the hotels in ULSC was not available.

It is an increase on the same six-month period in 2017, when punters put $11,112,275 into poker machines in GMC and ULSC across clubs and hotels, with $8,737,934 being raised in clubs in GMC and ULSC and $2,374,341 being raised in hotels in GMC.

The total tax paid by clubs and pubs for this period in 2017 was $1,991,528.

The Goulburn Workers Club was ranked 102nd in the state for net profit, with 159 machines.

The Goulburn Soldiers Club ranked 139th in the state for net profit with 139 machines.

Anglicare NSW South CEO Jeremy Halcrow said there was no ‘silver bullet’ to reduce poker machines’ harm.

“A range of interventions and regulatory measures are required,” Mr Halcrow said.

“However, limiting the size of individual’s bets and reducing maximum load up amounts could assist.”

Mr Halcrow is also co-chair of the Canberra Gambling Reform Alliance, and he said the Alliance continued to call for strong action to reduce gambling harms.

“This includes the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for all venues, $1 bet limits on all machines, aligning the rules on EFTPOS machines with ATMs and reducing the number of pokies by half within a decade,” he said.

Anglicare actively supports measures to reduce the harm caused by poker machines within the Goulburn community.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Liquor and Gaming New South Wales said the state government is committed to preventing and reducing gambling harms in the community.

“Record spending of $25 million through the Responsible Gambling Fund in 2018/19 is a key part of this commitment,” the spokesperson said.

“A total of $14 million is funding Gambling Help Services including phone, online and 55 face-to-face counseling services in more than 250 locations across New South Wales.”

People in the Goulburn Mulwaree region can also contact their local funded service for free and confidential face-to-face gambling help counseling.

Brimbank hopes to reduce gambling harm

Victoria’s Brimbank Council has introduced a radical new policy to minimise gambling harm, the Star Weekly reports.

Under the new policy, the council will charge clubs that operate poker machines on council land commercial rates and will seek limited term leases.

The St Albans Sports Club and Green Gully Soccer Club are the two affected clubs, but both would be eligible for rent discounts of up to 80 per cent if they implement gambling harm-minimisation measures.

Cr Virginia Tachos said the council will continue to lobby for regulatory reform.

“Council acknowledges that many clubs with EGMs also play an important social role – we want to work with current venue operators to reduce gambling harm,” Cr Tachos said.

“We understand that gambling is a legal form of entertainment that is also regulated at both a federal and state level – this council policy focuses on a public health response, reducing the potential harm and risks to our community.”

Brimbank has topped the list of money lost to EGMs for 10 consecutive years, with $1.4 billion lost over the past decade.

In the past financial year,  $139.5 million – or $383,000 a day – was lost on Brimbank’s electronic gaming machines.

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